It's amazing what a difference a couple of warm days can make.

Today, I have the front door wide open.

The kids colored the stones of our path with bright chalk.

My daffies started peeking their heads out this morning.

The grass is greener, and Curly and Mister have been spending most of their time in the back yard, absorbing the fresh air and sunshine.

Happy Spring!

Of Easter, Milestones and Mommy-Shopping

Beginning at 8:00, our family began hunting for matching socks and Easter dresses. We brushed hair and applied coconut oil. We buttoned and straightened and switched the boys' shirts because it turned out Bean's was longer. We curled and wiped and buckled. At 10:00 we went to church and were almost on time.

Throughout the chaos of entering the building and getting coats hung up, Abi began doing her trick, something we have come to call "Mommy-shopping." finding the nearest willing adult, she pours on the charm, taking a hand to be led (she knows the building like a book if she needs to, so it's not like she needs to be led) or even asking to be lifted. She smiles and asks, "Hello? How are you?" and people immediately fall in love. If we don't catch it, she'll make friends to the point that she bids me a cheerful farewell, and fully expects to go home with the new Mommy. This person, you see, is smiling and snuggling her, and has no intention of ever scolding her like the mean old Mommy she's just said goodbye to! This new Mommy won't make her go to bed or share her toys, surely. And since it's been a few months, it's obviously time to move on!

Sorry, kid, that's NOT how things are. All of our training warned us that this would happen. It's a classic part of the attachment process. As a result, we have been doing what we were instructed to do by the social workers and attachment therapists: nip the Mommy-shopping in the bud. We won't let people hold her or play with her, or hold her hand.

In a church full of extremely friendly, motherly middle-aged women, you have no idea how incredibly difficult this can be! I had to disengage her holding hands with at least four different people, scoop her up, and politely explain to them why they would have to wait to make friends. The fact that she's blind makes the problem ten times worse, as they try to smile and engage her from a distance, but when that doesn't work, they move in to touch her.

On a good note, though, church represented another milestone. It was the first time in months the whole family was there at the same time. During the fellowship hour after church, a time when traditionally Abi has had an absolute meltdown, either trying to squirm down and get away from us or merely flipping out and shrieking at being so overwhelmed, this time she sat calmly in my arms while I talked to people for ten minutes or so. I saw it as a huge improvement, even though she spent a good portion of the service pouting because we did not let her tickle Daddy when she wanted to. One step at a time!

This year, I found myself rejoicing more than usual in the triumph of Christ's resurrection, and even in His suffering. The fact that He knows what we're going through when life is tough and the days are each a thousand hours long strikes me as wonderfully comforting. As the spring comes slowly, day by day, so does our new normal. Each day brings us one day closer to finding our feet in this strange, beautiful, messy, breathtaking journey.

The Numbers Look Good

Abi had a post-op visit with Dr. W and this time the surgery was successful in that it accomplished our goal of lowering her eye pressure. Praise God! It got the pressure in her eye down from 30 to 7! (15-20 is normal and we wanted the lower the better.) Now that the good eye is safe for now, and her scrap of sight can be saved a little longer, we are looking at her bad eye. If we remove the cataract and do the same glaucoma surgery for lowering the pressure, we might find out if she has any sight behind the cataract worth saving. Dr. W thinks the optic nerve may be already very damaged from the glaucoma pressure, but if we can take out the cataract and maybe give her even light perception in that eye, it will be worth it. So... surgery is scheduled for May 1.

Two Abis

This afternoon while killing time after Abi's surgery in Spokane, we went for a walk in the sunshine, with Daddy carrying a surprisingly chipper Abi.

A block from our hotel stands the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist and on a whim, we stopped in to look at the beautiful interior. From her perch on Daddy's shoulders, Abi began making quick, sharp shouts, testing the echoing acoustic inside the shadowy, tall church. Together, we all made noises and enjoyed the reverberating echoes that came back from the acoustically live room.

Back outside, she let out a few more shouts, which the acoustically dead, tree-lined street absorbed.

"Ciao huulet Abi (Goodbye, second Abi)," she hollered, referring to the little echo friend she'd made inside.

Until next time.

Second Surgery

Good news: Abi's surgeon was pleased with the results of her surgery today. Time will tell if the pressure in her eye drops to safe levels, but he was quite optimistic.

A bonus: the hospital released her to stay with us in our hotel room instead of staying in the hospital overnight as was previously planned. Much better. :)

Trying Again

Tomorrow, we're headed to Spokane to try Abi's eye surgery again. This time they want to keep her overnight for observation. Would appreciate prayers that this time the surgery successfully lowers her eye pressure.

Happy Birthday, Princess Abi!

On this day last year, I cried because my little girl spent her birthday an ocean away.

Today, though, she is here surrounded by the love of her forever family. The thought makes me want to cry again, but with joy, not grief.

We gave her a couple of presents, spreading them out over the last few days. There was a See-n-Say from Grandma N, and her own stuffed Orca (a hot item currently at our house).  This morning we gave her our "big gift" of a new baby doll. Other than that, we plan to keep it completely low-key, because she is still so unsettled at changes or visitors.

Usually I would be upset at the lack of a celebration, party, Grandmas, piles of gifts... This time, though, I just want to hold my girl close and help her heart become one more day secure with us. To me, that is celebration enough!

Here, she's pretending to do her new baby's hair and put coconut oil on it, like I do with her. I think this is the first time she has role-played "Mommy" rather than pretending to be one of the orphanage nannies.  A really good sign!

Happy first birthday in your forever home, little girl!